|Commontime (February 5th, 2016)|
Field Music — Commontime (February 5th, 2016) ♣ Commontime je první album nových písní od sourozenců Petra a Davida Brewisových z North East (Sunderland) od alba ‘Plumb’ v roce 2012 a jejich páté album od jejich debutu v roce 2005. Hudba je překvapivě evokující. Nikdo jiný nedělá to, co Field Music., prolínání zpěvu, rytmické řazení odstupňovaných temp, lehce mimoakordické harmonie pojaté s citem, pořád na dosah populární hudby. Tam, kde ‘Plumb’ bylo plné “vignettes a segues”, Commontime oplývá něčím, co lidé mohou nazývat ‘ty správné písně’. Vždycky je tu něco, co Field Music umí dokonale: stírá jakoukoli špetku cynismu z moderní hudby a odráží ji pryč. Něco čistící, osvěžující a okouzlující, stejně jako zaplavat si v moři. Zde se jim to opět podařilo. Field Music nikdy nepředváděli nestydatou lásku k chorusům tak, jako na této desce. Neváhají je použít od první ze čtrnácti písní — ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’..., a celé toto pojetí kouzelně přivádí zpět éru Gentle Giant, XTC, Prefab Sprout, Peter Gabriel, Scritti Politti, Talking Heads, Todd Rundgren a 10cc zároveň, což je unikátní kombinace. ‘The Morning Is Waiting’ je propracovaným smyčcovým aranžmá zřejmě nejnáročnější skladbou na albu. Podezření, že se učili u XTC, sílí hned v následující ‘Indeed It Is’. Zde sice exceluje piano a vícehlasý zpěv, závěr je však šokující zvolněním tempa a kytarovými vyhrávkami v duchu Bo Hanssona. Lyricky, Peter a David i nadále těží z variability a bohatství vnitřních světů. Hudba stojí na jejich vlastních principech: stejně jako u všech výtvorů Field Music..., jemný poprašek hi–hat, neklidné kolísání xylofonu, všechno se vlní a proplétá, jako kdyby nástroje byly v rozhovoru. Když srovnám předešlé album ‘Music for Drifters’ s tímto, starší je více groovy, na novém je více avantgardy. V rámci propagačního turné ho nejblíže k nám uvidíme v březnu (Mar 18 London, Islington Assembly Hall). Location: Sunderland, UK
Genre: Soundtrack, Indie, Chamber Pop
Album release: February 5th, 2016
Record Label: Memphis Industries
01. The Noisy Days Are Over 6:28
02. Disappointed 3:05
03. But Not For You 3:49
04. I’m Glad 3:44
05. Don’t You Want To Know What’s Wrong? 3:17
06. How Should I Know If You’ve Changed? 2:56
07. Trouble At The Lights 5:34
08. They Want You To Remember 3:43
09. It’s A Good Thing 4:25
10. The Morning Is Waiting 3:56
11. Indeed It Is 3:21
12. That’s Close Enough For Now 3:26
13. Same Name 5:45
14. Stay Awake 4:08
℗ 2016 Memphis Industries
★ David Brewis Composer, Soloist
★ Jennie Brewis Vocals
★ Liz Corney Vocals
★ Ed Cross Violin
★ Simon Dennis Trumpet
★ Peter Fraser Arranger, Composer, Soloist
★ Susie Green Sleeve Art
★ Ele Leckie Cello
★ Josephine Montgomery Violin
★ Andrew Moore Bass (Upright), Organ, Piano
★ Dan Nore Lighting, Photography
★ Chrissie Slater Viola
★ Matthew Tye Design, Layout ★ Description: Commontime is the first album of new songs from North East siblings Peter and David Brewis since Plumb in 2012 and their fifth album ‘proper’ since their debut in 2005. After four years threading a way through one extra–curricular project after another, the space that Field Music vacated still appears to be empty and Field Music–shaped. No one else really does what Field Music do; the interweaving vocals, the rhythmic gear changes, the slightly off–chords, but with the sensibility that keeps them within touching distance of pop music.
♠ All this is present again but things are different this time. Where Plumb was an album of vignettes and segues, Commontime edges towards what people might call “proper songs”. Field Music have never shown off their unashamed love of choruses quite like they do on this record. Lyrically, Peter and David continue to mine that inexhaustible seam wondering how on earth we ended up here, in this situation, as these people. Over fourteen songs, conversations are replayed and friendships are left to drift. And all the while, that thing you were trying to remember has changed while your head was turned.Review
★ Alexis Petridis’s album of the week; Thursday 4 February 2016 15.00 GMT, Score: ****
★ The Brewis brothers’ sixth album of intricate, thoughtful songs is worthy of all the praise they continue to attract.
★ There are artists who manage to translate good press into commercial success. There are artists who succeed despite the best efforts of music critics, as frequently evidenced by the charts and the schedules of the world’s stadium venues. And then there are artists who have to settle for having the phrase “critically acclaimed” attached to them so often that it almost becomes part of their name: the Critically Acclaimed Big Star, whose first album sold fewer than 10,000 copies and whose most celebrated gig was performed before an audience entirely comprised of rock writers; the Critically Acclaimed Nick Drake, the adverts for whose third album, Pink Moon, contained both hyperventilating praise from Rolling Stone — “the beauty of his voice is its own justification” — and the admission from his record company that “his last two albums haven’t sold a shit”; the Critically Acclaimed Go–Betweens, whose drummer, Lindy Morrison, the very model of plain–spoken Antipodean candour, once summed up their career with the words “no one cared except for rock critics and a few wanky students”.★ It is, fairly obviously, to the ranks of the Critically Acclaimed that Field Music belong. Over the past 11 years, the output of Sunderland’s Brewis brothers — five albums, a soundtrack, a B–sides compilation, a covers compilation and two solo releases each — has attained rapturous reviews, a Mercury prize nomination and the public approval of an admittedly peculiar mix of celebrity fans, including Prince, Al Kooper and Vic Reeves — which sounds not unlike the seating plan for the world’s most awkward dinner party. They’ve also achieved a grand total of two weeks in the top 75. They run their musical careers “like a fairly unsuccessful small business”, a state of affairs that occasionally permeates their lyrics (“Baby, we’re going for broke,” offers Commontime’s I’m Glad, “we’re heading for the red, but isn’t everyone?”) and even their sound. For all its baroque string arrangements, jazzy chord sequences, vocal harmonies and beautiful, slick production, Commontime never sounds sumptuous. There’s something precise, carefully considered and economical about everything on it, from the twitchy funk of single The Noisy Days Are Over, to It’s a Good Thing’s off–kilter take on 80s pop, to the gorgeous piano–and–strings ballad The Morning Is Waiting.
★ Sometimes, it seems fairly obvious how this state of affairs came to pass. Field Music are certainly not a band to grab people’s attention on first glance; were the Brewis brothers any more anonymous–looking, you suspect they would have difficulty recognising each other. They can occasionally sound as if they have been scientifically engineered to appeal to rock writers: it appears to be some kind of legal requirement to mention Steely Dan in every Field Music review, but over the course of an hour, Commontime also variously evokes XTC, Prefab Sprout, Peter Gabriel, Scritti Politti, Talking Heads and Todd Rundgren, cerebrally inclined critical stalwarts all. At other times, however, their lot seems faintly baffling. In the past, Field Music have certainly been guilty of overburdening their music with ideas, albeit good ones, until it can feel like a faintly wearing exercise in showing everyone how clever they are. But Commontime strips things back from 2011’s clotted Plumb. There are moments here that feel informed by the complexities of prog rock: I’m Glad’s tricky, ungainly time signature; the serpentine bass riff and angular guitar soloing of Indeed It Is and the episodic Trouble at the Lights, which keeps thrillingly relocating from dolorous synth–backed ballad to heady swirls of harmony vocals to hushed piano interlude, and concludes with a churning instrumental finale that has a touch of the Beatles’ I Want You (She’s So Heavy) about it. But elsewhere, Commontime feels like a curiously uncomplicated pleasure, no matter how painstakingly it was put together: on Disappointed and Stay Awake, their inspiration and their penchant for weird structures distill into breezily fantastic pop songs.
★ On paper at least, Field Music can seem a bit cold and clinical — all those smart–arse influences, the meticulousness of their sound — but there’s a very infectious warmth to Commontime. It’s an album packed with ruminations on aging and parenthood that ring true, rather than sound mawkish. The Noisy Days Are Over and But Not for You approach the friend who flatly refuses to grow up when all around them are settling down, with a finely balanced cocktail of exasperation and tenderness; Indeed It Is perfectly captures the moment when you’re jolted by the realisation that adulthood, with all its mundane worries, is irrevocably upon you; How Should I Know If You’ve Changed and They Want You to Remember deal with the bittersweet lure of nostalgia.
★ Commontime isn’t perfect — it’s slightly too long, and could happily have lost a couple of less distinguished tracks — but there’s still more than enough here to suggest that the reason Field Music are critically acclaimed might have less to do with the kind of band they are than the quality of what they do. Like the Critically Acclaimed Big Star and the Critically Acclaimed Nick Drake, it might well be the Brewis brothers’ fate to be more widely appreciated at a later time: rock history suggests that the good will out eventually. Given how good Commontime is, it would be nice if it happened sooner rather than later. ★ http://www.theguardian.com/
BY IAN KING, 2 February 2016; Score: 8
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ****
★ Field Music (8 August 2005)
★ Tones Of Town (22 January 2007)
★ Field Music (Measure) (15 February 2010) UK No. 51
★ Plumb (13 February 2012) UK No. 49
★ Music For Drifters (soundtrack) (18 April 2015) [ltd. vinyl release] / (24 July 2015) [digital release]
★ Commontime (6 February 2016) © ‘Well left of left-field’... Peter and David Brewis of Field Work at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen. Photograph Elinor Jones, Retna
|Commontime (February 5th, 2016)|
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